Why Is Traffic So Miserable In Beijing? A Five-Minute Tutorial
Update, 7/14, 10:07 am: someone has put the video up on YouTube, embedded after the jump.
Did you know there are 14,694 people per square kilometer in Beijing, and five million people own cars as of January? Furthermore, did you know that the area inside Second Ring Road, just 62.5 square kilometers, makes up 6 percent of Beijing’s total area yet accounts for 30 percent of all traffic? Or that within Second Ring Road, government compounds take up an incredible 58 percent of space, with the implication that the government’s transportation needs — think private cars, probably Audis — does more to cripple the traffic grid than anything else?
These are the facts you learn in this five-minute video, “Urban Miss,” produced by the animation department of the Communication University of China and graduates of the technical school Digital Media Arts. I feel like the video only scratches the surface, and that’s not a knock on the filmmakers. I’d just love to learn more. Why, for example, do multi-lane roads decrease efficiency? It makes sense, but I’d love to have some statistics, and a sense that perhaps people in charge understand this city’s needs (narrower lanes, but more of them, and one-way streets). Would more traffic regulations ever work in China, a place where drivers are notoriously blase about traffic rules? I think there are enough questions here to warrant an hour-long piece.
It heartens me to see that there are people thinking critically about this city’s traffic woes. The above video includes English and Chinese subtitles.